While the Los Angeles Dodgers are once again one of the top clubs in baseball, the team has yet to show their true talent consistently as they trail the first-place San Francisco Giants by four games.
Part of the reason L.A. has not performed to their expected level of play is due to the injuries they have dealt with all season, but Mookie Betts also noted they have not played with enough intensity on a consistent basis.
“I think we’ve got to be like that all year. It’s kind of hard to just turn it on right now, so I think we have to do a better job of just playing with some more urgency,” Betts said on August 1 when asked if it is time for the club to do more as they start to get healthy.
“It’s what we did really good last year and haven’t done this year. I think we just have to start playing with some more urgency and getting things to turn our way instead of waiting for it.”
After their 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday in a playoff-like atmosphere, Betts reiterated the Dodgers need to carry that momentum down the stretch and continue playing at a high level.
“I think definitely we can carry it down the stretch. There was definitely some urgency,” he said.
“I think the atmosphere kind of played into that, but when the atmosphere is not like that, we have to continue to play with urgency. We have to take some accountability, do it ourselves and not have to worry about the crowd.”
The Dodgers are also now starting to get healthy, with Corey Seager and Betts recently returning to the lineup and Trea Turner expected to follow soon.
“It certainly helps. We’ve had guys here all year that are making their first run at the big leagues and they’ve had to learn on the run,” manager Dave Roberts said on August 3.
“Now you’re looking at your roster of more guys that have been through it, more seasoned, it certainly makes your team better. But the mindset also, I think we understand we’re under the 60-game mark, the trade deadline is past us, and we have our roster almost intact. We’ve got to focus each night and that sense of urgency needs to be heightened.”
Roberts also said the team needs to use the energy brought by each game’s starting pitcher and build off it as they get into a stretch of non-big games.
“So now as far as active starting pitchers, with what Walker did, Scherzer, Julio, David and as accomplished as he is, guys rally and rise up to that intensity because it’s their start day,” Roberts said.
“As we look out into this sprint, every game is important. What Mookie said, I’ll echo. We all need to have that sense of urgency every night.”
Betts enjoyed atmosphere during Astros series
The series between the Dodgers and Astros had a different atmosphere that was more like a playoff game than an early-August matchup.
Fans were sure to remind the Astros, specifically Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, of their 2017 sign-stealing scandal they used throughout the World Series with chants of “cheater” and roars of boos.
“It’s probably one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in,” Betts said. “That was pretty amazing to be a part of. Definitely will put that in the memory bank.”
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